Celebrating Patricia Ithau: From A Clerk Earning Sh1,500 To A CEO Of A Multi-Billion Firm

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Patricia Ithau: From A Clerk Earning Sh1,500 To A CEO Of A Multi-Billion Firm
CEO of WPP Scangroup Patricia Ithau Photocredit/africabusinesscommunities

By Prudence Minayo

Patricia Ithau is the current Chief Executive Officer of WPP Scangroup PLC, a leading marketing and advertising firm in the region. She has an impressive portfolio spanning more than two decades experience working with multinationals such as Unilever, Diageo/ EABL and L’Oreal East Africa. 

Her illustrious career started soon after high school. She worked for a law firm as a clerk earning Sh1500. 

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Here is her story as told by WoK

Education 

Patricia Ithau holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi and an MBA in Strategic Management from United States International University. 

Career 

The decorated CEO worked at Unilever from 1999 as head of culinary innovation center- Africa Business Group. In January 2002, she was made the marketing director for the East Africa sub-region of Unilever Africa regional group. Her duties included portfolio management and market and brand strategy. She was among those who worked on the rebrand of OMO detergent, launch of Sunlight, value repositioning for Blue Band, re-launch of Vaseline and a new campaign for close up. 

In February 2005, she joined East African Breweries Limited as a marketing director. Her duties included: leading the process for development of innovation in East Africa, developing strategic plans for the East African region portfolio and developing market and brand strategy. She was a part of the team that created Tusker Project Fame. 

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In June 2008, she became Managing Director (MD) of Uganda Breweries Limited, a subsidiary of East African Breweries Limited before taking the role of MD of EABL- International. 

In April 2011, she was made the MD of L’oreal East Africa Limited. In this role, she was in charge of the overall setting up of L’Oreal East Africa as a fully fledged subsidiary based in Kenya. During this time, she spearheaded the acquisition of Interconsumer Products and expanded the company’s reach in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi. 

Appointed CEO

In February 2022, WPP Scangroup appointed her as their new CEO effective 14th March. She replaced Mr. Bharat Thakrar who was the company’s founder and CEO for over three decades. He resigned after being suspended from the company. Prior to this appointment, she had served on WPP Scangroup as a non-executive director from 2017 to 2020. 

Ms. Ithau also holds various seats in different boards including:.

  • Member of Board Trustee at Mpesa Foundation 
  • Chair of the board of directors at Vivo Activewear 
  • Member Board of Trustees at Vodafone Foundation
  • Chair of the board and non-executive board member at Absa Bank Kenya
  • Non-executive independent board member at JamboJet
  • Non-executive independent board member at Trademark East Africa 
  • Advisory Council Member at Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
  • Previously, she served as regional director, Stanford Seed- East Africa.
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